St. Landry

Aug 9, 2013 11:10 PM by KATC

Treasurer says how Colomb Foundation pays debt 'not my concern'

According to Louisiana Treasurer John Kennedy's office, The Colomb Foundation of Arnaudville is one of a group of non-government organizations that have not answered the treasurer's demand to repay state funding.

Kennedy listed 36 different NGO's statewide during a speech in Baton Rouge on July 29, saying that they had not filed proper reports for tracking money they had received. In the case of The Colomb Foundation, Kennedy said that no reports or paperwork have been filed after the group received a $300,000 outlay in 2007.

"These 36 organizations got a legislator to sponsor an appropriation to give them taxpayer money," Kennedy said Friday. "That's money that we couldn't spend for UL at Lafayette, or for McNeese, or for roads or for coastal restoration."

According to Jason Redmond, communication director for Kennedy's office, no one from The Colomb Foundation has approached the Treasurer's Office in an official capacity to address the missing reports, or repaying the $300,000.

When reached for comment Friday, Sterling Colomb, founder of The Colomb Foundation, would only say, "no comment."

"They are supposed to be accountable for that taxpayer money," Kennedy explained. "They've gotta tell the taxpayers how they spent it, why they needed it, what they spent it on, and give cancelled checks and invoices so people can see the money wasn't wasted, or was spent on the purpose for which it was intended. That's the law.

According to Redmond, the treasurer will release a new list early next week showing which NGO's have complied with Kennedy's request, which have made no contact or attempt to solve the issues and which are negotiating a settlement with the treasury.

The middle group, which includes The Colomb Foundation, will be receiving a final demand letter from the state, Redmond said.

"They signed the paperwork saying they would provide reports to the state and then they didn't," Kennedy said. "When you take public money, you have to follow through with what is required."

With regard to The Colomb Foundation's situation, whether funds are to be repaid or records are to be submitted, Kennedy was blunt.

"That's not my concern," Kennedy said. "That's taxpayer money."

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